Seems like I will always have a connection to pine trees. Some of you already know I grew up on the sandy soil of Moore County, North Carolina, where pine trees are king! Okay, not everyone likes them. They produce tar or sap. And pine cones. And pine needles. I hated my Saturdays in the yard picking up pinecones. My daddy would drive his little tractor around and either my sister or I (we alternated Saturdays) would stand on the back and ride around with him. He’d stop the tractor in various spots throughout our large yard and we would have to jump down and pick up all the pinecones in that area and put them in the little hitched-up trailer he was pulling. Those were the days.
These days, I miss that. I did love the pine trees in our yard. I used to enjoy picking at the bark and looking at the sap. I had heard growing up that you could chew the sap like chewing gum, though I never did. You can use the needles to make a healing tea. I used the trees as a way to balance myself when doing hand stands in the yard. We had the huge beautiful pinecones that people actually purchase now for crafts and decorations. We sat in the yard and braided pine straw. You can weave pine straw to make a basket. I have fond memories of pine trees, minus having to work on Saturdays! I do wonder though if that work made me love being outside like I do. Thank you, Daddy.
Pine trees were a part of colonial history for the Scots in North Carolina, who worked around them and made a business of them. The Piedmont Scots added pine products (tar for ships) to what was put on the Cape Fear river and sent to Wilmington. I love this bit of history from Learn NC.
“…pitch and tar rendered from the sap of pine trees and used to protect the hulls and rigging of wooden ships.”
“The native longleaf pines allowed crops to be planted without the backbreaking work of first removing all trees. Settlers removed a ring of bark from the pines, killing the trees; this caused needles to fall and sunlight to reach crops.”
And oh do I descend from a long line of Scots! The McNeills, Gilchrists, McKays, and Campbells to start with. The Hastys were from North Ireland, having migrated down from the lowlands of Scotland. On my mom’s side the Scots were all highlanders, many from the Outer Hebrides.
Here are a few recent garden photos.
Enjoy this day!